Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Amy Fiske

Committee Co-Chair

William Fremouw

Committee Member

Hawley Montgomery-Downs

Committee Member

Claire St. Peter

Committee Member

Laurie Theeke.


Nightmares have been linked with several negative consequences, including death by suicide. Further, nightmare sufferers report that nightmares have a significant negative impact on their lives. To address this problem, several nightmare treatments have been studied, with Imagery Rehearsal Therapy (IRT) having the greatest amount of empirical support. However, there are many unanswered questions in regard to IRT, such as how quickly one may see an effect and whether or not there is a temporary increase in nightmares prior to a decrease. The current study aimed to address these questions by examining IRT using a non-concurrent multiple baseline design. Four participants took part in the study, with each receiving IRT over the course of one session. IRT did not lead to a substantial decrease in nightmare frequency or severity in this sample, despite strong treatment adherence. The lack of a finding may be due to there being a great deal of intra-individual variability in frequency of nightmares. There was no substantial increase in nightmare frequency, severity, or negative affect in the week following treatment. However, it is possible that the treatment was ineffective, which could explain why no temporary increase in nightmares or negative affect was observed. Implications and future directions are discussed.